Stewart Downing believes his decision to return to Middlesbrough has been vindicated by the club’s return to the Premier League.
The winger stepped down a division to return to his hometown club in 2015 from West Ham, with Boro boss Aitor Karanka admitting at the time that “nobody expected him to come here”.
However, Downing played a key role in the 2015/16 season as Boro were promoted to the top flight.
“If I didn’t feel that we could have challenged and got promoted I wouldn’t have made that move,” he told Sky Sports News HQ. “That’s what I stressed to the people at West Ham and [manager] Slaven Bilic.
“For any other club I wouldn’t leave, but it was my hometown club and I left on a bit of a sour note, five or six years ago with an injury and after a relegation, so it was nice to come back and put it right.”